tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN July 29, 2014 9:00pm-11:01pm EDT
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the house this week debates a resolution authorizing a lawsuit against president obama. we are joined from capitol hill by mike lillis of the hill who's reporting on this debate. why does speaker boehner want to sue the president? this plays into the republican narrative, and we've heard it for three years, ever since boehner has gotten the gavel, ever since obama has taken the white house that he's abused his executive authority, stepped out of bounds of the constitution, and boehner said, we've had enough, we're going to sue him. and they're pointing to a provision of the -- of obamacare, of course, the health care law that the democrats passed without any republican support. and they're saying that a certain delay in one of those provisions is outside of the
law, what congress didn't approve it, and we're suing you because of it. >> what's this resolution do? say it passes the house. what does it mean? >> it authorizes the house, the chamber, the actual chamber, to sue president obama. to sue the white house. now, the debate over -- one facet of this debate is whether or not they even have standing to do so. a lot of legal scholars say they do not, others say they do. this is something that's going to be tied up in the courts for a long time. so you're not going to see any decisions based on this legislation, based on this suit preelection. just the fact that they're going through all these motions, it's red meat to republicans and democrats have been fund-raising on it as well. so it's political fodder for both sides. you know, certainly an exciting debate for us. >> the speaker tweeted this week, we will debate and pass the resolution authorizing the lawsuit openly, transparently, and in regular order. what's the response been by the white house and by democrats, generally? >> well, you know, predictably
they say that the republicans don't have standing, they say that this is just another instance of the republicans focusing on undermining a president that they simply don't like rather than doing other business, rather than focusing on the economy, and other issues that people care about more. again, this is -- this plays into the republican narrative that obama has exceeded his executive authority and that's going to rally the republican base. you know, the democrats have the flip side and that's going to rally their base. they're fund-raising on it. the question is, how is this going to affect independents? that's the big question mark and we won't know that until after the election. >> is there any senate involvement? this is a house resolution so the senate gets no say in it? >> correct. >> speaker boehner met with a number of reporters and the hill headline sums it up. boehner impeachment is a democratic scam in the hill. he said in particular, it's all a scam started by democrats at
the white house, and we have no plans to impeach the president. how did this grow out of this comment come out of this talk about the lawsuit? >> right. another interesting facet of all this. again, both sides -- huge disagreement. you'd be shocked to hear there's a partisan disagreement over where the debate began. dan pfeiffer, senior white house adviser, was at a "christian science monitor" breakfast on friday and he mentioned this lawsuit is the first step towards impeachment. this didn't come from nowhere. sarah palin, former representative alan west of florida, these guys have been pushing an impeachment resolution for a long time. but republican leaders have not yet gotten on board. so there is a distinction between some of these tea party conservatives both in and out of congress and the leadership. when boehner says he's not going to do it, he's pushing back against some of the rank and file, some of the sarah palin types around the country who have been pushing to impeach
obama for some time. >> there have been news reports that indicate this talk about impeachment has actually driven fund-raising for the democrats. >> it certainly has. it actually began, their fund-raising kick began last thursday when rules committee passed the lawsuit resolution, then when pfeiffer mentioned the impeachment thing they jumped on board with the impeachment thing. you've seen all these e-mail blasts. i forget the last count, probably approaching 20 thins thursday, mentioning impeachment, mentioning the lawsuit, asking for money from democrats. they've done quite well, they've raised over $2 million in a matter of days. the greatest four-day haul in this election cycle. so it's working for the democrats. so that's why they're still beating the drum. >> can the same be said for republican candidates? is the impeachment issue working as a fund-raising tool? >> i haven't seen direct evidence of it but you can imagine yes, it would be. in a lot of conservative districts they agree obama has
exceeded his executive authority and they would jump on board. they want to see boehner suing the president over what they feel is executive overreach. >> mike lillis at thehill.com. thank you for the update. >> thanks, bill, appreciate it. former nba player kareem abdul-jabbar, along with other former athletes, talk about racism in sports. we'll also hear from sacramento mayor kevin johnson who's also a former nba player. this event was hosted by the u.s. conference of mayors. >> all right, thanks, matthew. all right, mayors. i hope you guys are situated and seated. we're going to have a really dynamic panel here. i know a lot of you had a good time over the weekend and we're looking forward to it. you stayed on monday. for one, we have business to conduct. then two, this really impressive panel. let me give a little background
as i kind of bring up each of our panelists. before we to that i'm going to have mayor ballard come up in a moment. from jackie robinson integrating baseball to tommy submit and john carlos saluting human rights in the 1968 olympics medal ceremony, sports have time and time again played a pivotal role in advancing civil rights. nba commissioner adam silver's swift and debasive response to l.a. clippers owner donald sterling's racially charged comments makes clear that in today's society, institutionalized racism is not welcome. in light of both events, and the long-standing battle against discrimination and institutional racism in professional sports, we are taking the necessary action today to discuss the social and political implications of racism in
sports. through this interstaff conversation, panelists will tackle questions that can tell us why racism still pervades our sports, as well as our society. more importantly, we are convening today to learn and to discuss how sports should serve our communities and how we together can become agents of change in our cities with our sports teams. before we move on to our panel, i would like to introduce a leader in addressing the intersection between sports and cities. indianapolis mayor greg ballard is chair of our mayor professional sports alliance. the mission of this alliance is to share among mayors information, resources, and support on issues related to professional sports and to work effectively with leagues, players, and owners. let's give a round of applause for mayor ballard.
>> good morning. mr. president, distinguished guests. sports bring people together. they bring communities together. certainly during a deep playoff run when athletes do good work in the community. sports bring nations together. how many of us gasped at portugal's last-second goal last night? but sports can also divide us. and there can be a meanness, an ugliness. as is the case in this clippers episode. i was proud that the mayor's professional sports alliance stood with our president, kevin johnson, as he worked with the players and the alumni as they addressed this situation. and i do applaud the nba for taking swift and decisive action. but ultimately, sports organizations are part of who we
are. they represent us as a community. and despite the elite athleticism that we all witness, we really want them to embody our character and our compassion as a community. and that includes a respect for all of our citizens. to me, diversity has always been about respect. respect was lacking in the clippers organization. sports mirror our society insofar as that inclusion, that respect, has come at such a great price. such as the life of jackie robinson. it is all of our responsibility to continue the march. i look forward to the panel. thank you so much.
>> thanks, mayor ballard. all right. i'm going to introduce the panelists and then we're going to have a serious conversation. so our first panelist that i'd like to bring out to give a mayoral perfespective on this important issue is our very own michael nutter. as we know, philadelphia has a reputation of being a passionate sports town. we can hear boos all over the country for the eagles and the phillies and the sixers and the clippers if you're not from philadelphia, especially in sacramento. it has a long history of sports in philadelphia as it has spurred on serious conversation about race. former phillies manager ben chapman was one of the loudest voices opposing jackie robinson's integration to baseball. let's give a round of applause for our very own past president
michael nutter. all right, secondly i'd like to bring -- go ahead and have a seat. secondly, i'd like to bring out a person who was originally scheduled to moderate it, and i thought he would probably give more and better perspective sitting on a panel so we switched places. i didn't know i was going to lose my voice. so roland martin, an influential reporter, commentator, long career at b.e.t., cnn, the defender in chicago, most recently tv1 has its own program called "news one now." he's from houston, born in houston in texas, went to texas a&m, a journalist, got his
master's degree in christian communications, has written several books. let's give a round of applause for roland martin. all right. since we're in dallas, mayor rawlings, this is for you. i get a chance to introduce a dallas cowboy legend. and this is a surprise guest for us. we didn't put him on the schedule intentionally so mayor rawlings would be surprised. this man led the dallas cowboys to not one or two but three super bowl championships. he's one of 17 children from ft. lauderdale. went to the university of miami.
won a championship there. one of the greatest wide receivers to ever play the game. let's give a round of applause for michael irving! i think most of you know that michael is also now a personality and commentates on football on a regular basis. and he's got that personality that's just magnetic. and it's awesome to have him here. i don't know if you ever got a chance to see his acceptance speech in the hall of fame. and i know most of you have. it was one of the most amazing acceptance speeches all-time. so one more round of applause for the playmaker.
all right. this is the biggest introduction i'm ever going to make. i mean, is this just not exciting about who's about to come out? you all should clap before i even say his name. just let him know we love him before i even say his name. all right. just listen to this. i didn't want to go long but just listen to this for a minute. six-time nba championship. this man won six of them. six-time most valuable player. 19-time nba all-star. hall of fame inductee. played with the bucks in milwaukee, gave a little love there, won a championship. then went out west to l.a. and won five more. from new york, went to ucla,
played under john wooden, won three championships in college. if you add those two up, that's like nine. god dog. the man as a freshman was not allowed to play varsity sports or he would have had a tenth. in college he was so effective, they literally change d a rule because he was there. this is like a rule-changer in a real way. he's a legend. he also is a "new york times" best-selling author. has written books on history and civil writes including "black profiles in courage," what "what color is in my world." host of books. a documentary has been written about and made about one of his books "harlem rants." two-time naacp image award winner. get on your feet and give a round of applause for the one and only, the greatest player to ever play the game, kareem
abdul-jabbar! i feel like we can all go home. i feel like we've been to church and we haven't said a word yet. look at him. look at kareem just for a second, look at him. dignified, distinguished. what makes him so amazing, not only arguably the best player to ever play the game, but it wasn't just what he did on the court. it's what he did off the court. and to me, for him to be here today with these panelists, is amazing. and just so you know, this is often something people don't know about kareem abdul-jabbar. he's not an out-front person. send the scenes -- last night he
took a half dozen mayors out to dinner. can you give him a round of applause for treating our mayors to dinner last night as well. all right, you all ready? okay. we going to get it going. we going to have this panel discussion. i'm going to stand up here because i'm losing my voice a little bit. i want to first throw the first question out to mayor nutter. mayor, what was your gut reaction when you heard the donald sterling tape? >> i have to tell you, i was -- i was really stunned. i mean, at first -- my folks told me about it. and i said, i mean, is this true? did somebody really say this? i mean, we have all these tapes and youtube and all that. certainly the elected officials know about all that stuff. then i said, well, maybe it was doctored. you know. how does somebody say all of that? so i watched it. and i knew it was like nine or
ten minutes or so. i said, i'm probably not going to watch this whole thing, i just want to see -- i mean, it's the epitome of an accident. it was just fascinating. and every piece. it just went on and on and on. at the end i was just disgusted. you want to talk about people, calling folks out by name, all this kind of stuff. you're the owner of a team, you're like an adult, you're supposed to be responsible. and so -- i mean, you know. i had some other thoughts. but, you know. this is a family program. so -- i mean, it was insane. but, i mean, obviously it's been found to be, you know, true, legit. and, you know, we know the end of the story. we have to give our president certainly huge recognition for the role that he played and the nba and the commissioner certainly handled it properly. but it was a stunning moment, i
think, in america. >> awesome. so kareem, question for you. same question. you know, you wrote a very impressive "time" magazine piece which was awesome. so what was your first reaction? and they're probably going to be surprised with your comment, but go ahead, kareem. >> my first reaction was surprise. because i had worked for mr. sterling. i coached the clippers in the year 2000. he invited me to his daughter's wedding. i had no idea exactly what was going on. but i also, because of my association, i know elgin baylor, i know what he was complaining about. so i was confused not knowing exactly which set of facts mr. sterling stood behind. and then when his words came out, it was -- it was so obvious and shocking and just disgusting.
all of those things wrapped in one. but the surprise of it, to find that type of sentiment in someone who relies on black americans for so much of his success and public profile, it was amazing. i just couldn't believe it, that someone could have that much bigotry inside and think that it was okay. >> michael, what was your gut reaction when you first heard it? >> you know, i was -- i was hurt. hurt for certainly the players on the court. and for the fans. because -- let be real here, the clippers, they've been waiting a long time for this. where they are right now. they've been waiting a long time. and there have been a lot of fans, a lot of loyal fans. and they have doc rivers, they have chris paul, guys that
really are such upstanding african-americans that represent the best we have to offer. and then to point out and attack one of the best we have to offer in magic johnson, i was hurt. i was hurt for all of those other people. i won't say that i was totally shocked. because i truly believe, and i understand we still have the remnants of some of these still left. so i'm not shocked. but i was hurt. and we had heard some things prior to this about donald sterling. and the bible says out of abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. as we go on and on, he kept going on and on, we heard more of his heart. i was shocked and hurt for all of those people. >> roland, i'm going to ask you the same question. for everybody out there, watching him do what he's doing right there, he does not have a.d.d. well, he may have that too.
but he's just a twitter -- this man tweets like nobody's business. i want you to know he's paying attention. >> i got him some new followers. >> go ahead. >> my reaction was, and? see, folks were all surprised by it. and i think what people are more surprised by was the fact that he said it, and to the degree that he did. but the reason i was some way pleased with it, because we are living in absolute denial because we have too many people walking around going, oh my god, we have a black president, this is a post-racial america! you actually have eric bolling on fox news that said, all this stuff about racism, i don't even see it, doesn't even exist. all you got to do is go to the eeoc website and you will see case after case after case after case of examples after president obama was elected.
so what happens is we all of a sudden act as if, well, you know, things are changing, you see black ceos, you see black mayors, governors and the president. so somehow these things have been wiped out. dr. king said, in chaos and community, where do we go from here? what do we do about what is in somebody's heart? for him to be a team owner is no shock. look, you got a city councilwoman in la mar, texas, who was recorded saying, we need to get those blacks off the school board. and she refuses to apologize. she is unapologetic saying, i said it. we need to get those blacks off the school board. and so it causes people to go, wait a minute, we have to confront the reality of race in america. who's here from akron, ohio? anyone from akron ohio? the "akron beacon journal" won a prize several years ago for a whole series on race and ushering a city-wide conversation and part of this is because what we love to do in
america, we love to not have that brutally honest discussion. we want to have the nice, sweet, we all get along conversations without realizing there are people in power who own businesses, who are elected officials, who might be in charge of, yes, having black folks who work for them, but have a hard-core view on the issue of race. and so it calls a lot of people to force themselves to say, wait a minute, we might want to examine ourselves. and it forced the nba to have to answer some questions as to, when you have all of these examples of this owner and the issue of race over the years, you were silent about it and said nothing, including that major housing lawsuit that he had to pay the money out, and the league did nothing. >> so kareem, i'm going to come back to you. and i think most of you know, kareem went to college in the '60s when civil rights were at
the top of its game. you played professional sports '60s and '70s. tell us, are we at the end of an era? or help us connect with what you were going through then and where you think we are today. >> well, i think what has happened is when we had -- the fact that we had the legal means to combat racism, institutionalized racism, a lot of black americans said, okay, now we have the tools to achieve something. but it has taken us decades to achieve those things that we had the tools to work on. and when it comes to working on what's in people's hearts and their minds with regard to the inferiority of people who do not look like them, we have a very long way to go. even though we have these tools, we have a long way to go because a lot of people do not understand their own bigotry. it's so endemic to the human
experience, that too many people don't get when it they are very intensely affected by racism and do racist acts, they're not even aware of it. we still have a very long way to go. >> mayor johnson, position this properly. position this properly. emmett till is killed august 28th, 1955. the montgomery bus boycott december 1st, 1955. then 60, the students of north carolina a and t. the march to washington jobs freedom august 28th, 1963. civil rights act, voting rights act, fair housing act, nixon gets elected in '68, southern strategy, affirmative action comes in. in a period of 13 years the country was transformed. if you use 1968 as the marker of so-called full freedom for african-americans, that's 46 years. right now 45 1/2 years. 1968. so you say dr. king is killed april 4th, 1968.
you say affirmative action, arthur fletcher, nixon. use '68 as the marker. so-called full freedom for black folks in '68. this is a 46-year period. i'm 45. will be 46 in november. so we walk around as if, oh my god, things have changed. all of a sudden we have amazing freedom. but in the history of the country, african-americans, if we use '68, which we know was a false year anyway, you had the whole issue in boston and other cities with desegregation and bussing. 46 years, so-called freedom. so when you expand it beyond donald sterling and his comments about race, you expand the issue of housing and economics and inclusion, you go beyond that, you will see that, yes, we've come a long way. we're only talking about 46 years of so-called full freedom. and so if you think that we somehow have gotten over the issue of race, we have to be delusional.
because it didn't happen in 46 years. and the same way in south africa when we celebrate nelson mandela's passing but you still have in that country with south africans that are whack still don't have access to power economically and politically. they might be presidents of countries but don't control capital. >> michael, i'm going to ask you the same question in some respect. there was a philadelphia eagles football player who got video recorded saying the "n" word. and so what was your thought when you first heard that? michael, you're the mayor of the city where it happened. >> couple of things. i'm going to hold on to what you talked about, 68 years, 45 years past that date. i'm going to come back to that. i'll address the riley cooper situation and how i addressed it because that's my job every sunday and thursday to talk about the things that goes on, the things that go on in sports. riley cooper, i've watched and riley's been playing football for a lot of years.
one of the things i talked about when this issue came up, i was just coming from a basketball camp with my son in las vegas. and as we walked by the pool, they had music blasting saying the "n" word. 50 different ways to sunday. and everybody was rocking and having a great time. and riley cooper stepped in a club, he steps out, in an angering situation, drops the "n" word. and here we go of course saying everything about riley cooper. i thought, first of all, and i said it then and i'll say it now, first of all, we all have to take responsibility as african-americans for interjecting the word out there and making it okay. now riley cooper said it in a moment of heat. in a moment of heat. words already put in your spirit through all the songs you're listening to, in a moment of heat you let the word go.
do i count it as a moment of racism? i said, i don't think so, this man had been around these people all his life, we would have received it. the rich incognito situation was different in exactly. i thought that was how the word was used back in the day. incognito use the word as a systematic way is a way to break down another man. that is what i call racism. a systematic way of breaking down the other man. that's not tolerable. >> i just want you all to know when they say athletes are not smart, look at these two up here. i'm sitting next to the dictionary. kareem abdul-jabbar is like the dictionary. this man know every single meaning of every word. . for him to be able to break down the issues, this is what drives me crazy as a former athlete. people don't give athletes enough credit for what they do and their perspectives.
i think these are great examples. >> he knows more words than doc king? >> he does, absolutely, test him, put him on the spot. this is the honest to god truth. we were -- kareem and i were on a streetcar in san francisco, mayor, getting some award. riding around, i'm looking at him the whole time, like can you quit looking? it's kareem, man. we riding around. then i said, i said, tell me something about the great wall of china. i was trying to be funny. this man said, did you know the rock was a quarry built for -- i was like, who knows about the great wall of china? that's a true story. so mayor nutter, same topic. because you had to deal with it head-on. >> yeah, i did. and the -- my reaction was swift, aggressive, and negative.
and i saw that tape. and we put out a statement that said that he needed to clean it up, he needed to fix it. and i think quite honestly, as i saw it, i was left with the impression that it wasn't the first time in his life that he had used that word. and so that calls into question a whole host of other issues. you know. the team tried to deal with it, all of a sudden he -- you know, he suddenly had to go away. it was never really clear -- i mean, i think just trying to get him out of -- out of town, out of the situation. philly is not a -- we were teasing in the back michael irving because he always loved playing in philadelphia.
so our fans are passionate. it's not an overreaction kind of town. but there was a lot of reaction to that. they were home, they weren't on the field, it was an off -- i mean, it was a very, very negative reaction to it. you know, i have some thoughts about how it was handled. and whether it was completely handled properly. but, you know. season started. there wasn't much stuff. he went on to have a pretty good season. and i'm not going to sit here and say that all is forgotten. i think obviously that's the question people remember. he's trying to get past it. but, you know, when i see him on tv or if i'm at the game, i hear his name, i immediately remember that. so he's got to deal with that. >> mayor, we have false reality, a false discussion about race. here's what it has evolved into. riley cooper, racist, not a
racist. >> right, right. >> you watch these cable news shows, it was the same thing. donald sterling conversation, many other -- it becomes racist/not a racist. as if there is nothing in between those two. >> right. >> so what happens is folks began to say, no, you are a racist. you have all the people commenting on that end. the people who are defending saying, no, i've known him, i've lived with him, we hung out, he's not a racist. as if there is nothing that's in between that deals with how we've grown up, it deals with our perceptions, it deals with -- look, i make this example. there's nothing that pisses me off more than going around the country, i'm rocking my texas a&m gear, somebody says, you played ball there? hell, i didn't play ball. now, the first question is not,
did you graduate? or what you majored in. i was playing golf one day, the dude said, how was it playing with jackie sherrill? i'd just written a column two weeks earlier for the "ft. worth star telegram." the headline was, "no, i'm not a football player." and so he's in the middle of the fairway, my brother's on this side, i asked the question. i got a 5 iron in my hand twirling that sucker. my brother's going, oh my god, please don't answer. i didn't even respond. we finally got finished that hole. he goes, i don't know why i asked that question. yes, you do. so what happens is we have perceptions and we have beliefs and a lot of them are based on race. if i see a 6'5" white guy, i automatically don't assume he played basketball. i just don't. so what happens is, when we talk about race, we have to
acknowledge if there is something that's in between not a racist/are a racist that plays into this, we simply don't like to have that, now it bringses into question how hour mothers and fathers raced raised us. this thing in wilmington, delaware, at the king day, all of these black, white, hispanic and asian students, oh, we get along, it's great. i was sitting hering about going, this is a bunch of bs. so i said, let me ask you all a question. who do you eat lunch with? they went, what do you mean? i said, who do you eat lunch with? when i asked that question, all of a sudden the butt dancing. i use it on tv. when you're kicking somebody behind, they get uncomfortable, they get in the chair and start doing this here, i call that butt dancing. they start butt dancing, the whole room. and i said, you can't tell me you all get along and you live
in this wonderful race-neutral world, because who you choose to go to lunch with defines your view. i turn to the parents and i said, who eats at your house for dinner? room got real uncomfortable. what happens is, school, work, what i call involuntary situations, you don't control really who gets hired. but who you eat with and go to lunch with is a voluntary situation. and oftentimes we eat with people who we like, as opposed to folks who are a lot of times it's based upon race. when i put that out there the whole conversation changed because they realized that they had self-segregated but they thought they were all multi-racial, all wonderful, it never dawned on them they were self-segregating. they thought because they sat in the same classroom they were living this multi-racial world. you take a donald sterling and other issues, how you begin to examine race in a whole
different way. >> let me ask this. because we have to be careful. you said there's a schism. it's not so black and white. but if a guy comes up to you and asks, and you have on -- if i have on the ut shirt, he says, you play ball? does that mean he's racist? we have to be careful there. >> right, right, right. but there's a perception, though. if he saw a dude my size, if he saw a white guy my size, he ain't asking that question. let's just be honest. >> see, now you can't say you're not saying anything about him, you just made an assessment on what he will not ask. you see what i'm saying? >> he ain't asking i play ball. >> that's the trappings that we have to be careful with. i may ask -- i see a 6'5" white guy, i'm going to wonder if he plays basketball, if not he's wasting heat he could have given to my nephew. you see?
maybe that hassing some to do with time or the coaches we come up with. sports are huge. let's think through this. sports are huge in this country. the money we spend on sports. when someone sees you, went to a a&m, sees me in a "u" shirt, we can't say, oh, he must be -- just because i'm black don't mean i played sports, i graduated, all those things. i'm saying in order to really grow and be ed guide we've got to watch it both ways. my bishop always told me, put yourself in the next man's shoes if you will. that's what i'm saying. >> i didn't call him racist. what i'm saying is there are perceptions, there are stereotypes that we buy into. when you see it over a period of years. then when i raise it, somebody goes, whoa. i didn't realize that i jumped to a conclusion. >> i conquer with you. >> what we're dealing with though is the whole idea of the word prejudice.
the word prejudice means prejudging. so when you come into a situation when you already know, oh, that's, yeah, you played for abilene state, right? a, no. i'm a doctor. wow. that's what we're talking about. >> prejudging and assessing in the same area but two different things. so i can prejudge someone, that means i made up my mind who he is. assessing someone means i'm trying to read and figure out who he is. asking a question, man, what position you play? i may be in the assessing, not already prejudging. >> that wasn't a question. you judged. as opposed to saying -- no, no, no. no, right. here's how -- >> texas a&m jersey, shirt. so maybe i'm thinking sports. you see what i'm saying? >> here's the deal. it's 500,000 former aggies, all of them didn't play. >> and everybody may not wear a jersey either. >> right.
>> moderator has to intervene here. mike, mike, mayor nutter, can you sit between these two? go ahead, mayor nutter. >> i may be offended. but no one's ever asked me did i play ball. >> see what i'm saying? exactly. right. >> that's what i'm talking about. >> damn. >> i can tell you something worse than that that happens to me. people come up to me and ask me if i'm wilt chamberlain. i say, wilt chamberlain is dead, man. what is that all about? >> maybe dating advice. >> so roland, let me ask you this question. i want to get away from sterling for just one second, right, because -- mike, you said it best. maybe you should make the comment. you talked about how sports gives us an opportunity to have
these -- absolutely, what we were talking about is donald sterlings, the michael sams situation. when they happen in sports, because sports garners so much attention from the world and it's right there on tv, i can't -- i can't believe they pay me what they pay me to talk about it. i can't believe. >> i'm with you. i get paid to talk, i'm cool with that. >> i tell people all the time, i was fortunate enough to make millions faking people out with my hips. now i make millions talking about how to fake people out with my lips. it is incredible. this is an incredible world. i love it. but having that opportunity, because it's so visible, it's so live, it's so real, we don't get that if it's happening in our fortune 500 companies. you know, we don't get those
opportunities to talk about those things. and what we do is we are edified through those conversations. let's take the michael sam situation for a moment if we will. growing up for me, calling michael sam and guys that had a sexual orientation opposite of mine, we didn't even know that. so when we used the word -- i don't even want to say it. >> f word. >> i've got a job, i don't want them firing me for saying it. when a whenever they use the f word it wasn't about sexual orientation, it was about sign of weakness. so now as we have these conversations, we start dispelling all the myths and edifying one another and getting period at it. now hey, i want the first guy that is gay to come in the league, i want him to be a linebacker so he can knock somebody out. it doesn't matter. so we can squash all of the stereotypes to move forward.
that's what's great about it all. that's what's great about it. having conversation is what we need. now, i hate that we focus on the one, like the sterlings and all of those guys. but we do need to have these conversations. >> mayor nutter? >> i want to build on michael irving's point about sports. and in the more serious way for a moment. i mean, it does play out literally on the biggest stage. people are watching. it's broadcast. there's money. there's all kinds of things going on. we go back in history. a couple of names. jesse owens. wasn't just about running. what was going on at that time? at war, world issues. at the olympics. this was literally the united states of america against germany. >> right. >> now being defined on the track.
america's strength. 1968 olympics. john carlos. decides to stand on the podium, a black glove on his hand, puts his fist up in the 1960s as a sign to the world of what was on his mind. life changed. i mean, never really anything for john carlos. our friend here. comes into the nba. changes his name. got the right to change your name. huge controversy in sports. cassius clay. mohammad ali. then the whole issue, and this is all during -- certainly during my time, my childhood. i know exactly where i was in march of 1971, listening on the
radio, as people were trying -- you were either a joe frazier fan, and that had one set of perspectives, or you were a mohammad ali fan. that had a different set of perspectives. for blacks and whites. and they were both in each of those fighters' camps. trying to define, you know, are you a radical? are you in the more establishment kind of mode? so, i mean, that's what's been going on. i mean, not all that during my time but certainly from the '60s on up. how race and other issues have played out on a larger scale in the united states of america and around the world, shaping attitudes and perspectives on who we are and what we're about. and a lot of that continues certainly today. >> there's a danger, though. >> has that not changed? i'm asking the question because, respectfully, maybe you guys -- some of you guys feel owed in
this sense. >> that was nice. >> yeah. but -- that fight was about saying that, you know, we were inferior, and it was sports saying, we're not inferior. >> frasier/ali? >> well -- and jesse owens and all of those things. it was about -- now, through sports, we know that we're not inferior. is that still the same fight we're having today? >> yes. yes. but here's what jumped out at me. '36 was positioned as america versus nazi germany. but jesse owens, when he came back, could not eat in restaurants in his own country. and so to bring it present day, we will praise our athletes as our warriors on the field. let's have a conversation about
education reform and are they actually being taught in the very school that's praising them for winning on friday night? and so sudden when we begin to force a conversation, sports allows us because it is a unifying matter if you will, sports and comedy really -- sports comedy and music are the three areas where literally we come together regardless of background, depending on the price of the ticket, [ ground, ethnicity, gender all those different factors and we're operating behind this one deal. so a lot of times, cool, we can get along and it's cool and great. but then when you go outside of that, now you're back in the real world. the problem i have when we have these conversations and as somebody who spent six years on cnn, i mean i had been involved in media since i was 14. went to a journalism high
school. what happens is we in media do the exact same thing in the real world. okay, hurry up and end this conversation so we can move on. let's get off this michael sam and dealing with race and gender so we can get back to playing games. because we like to play games. so what i always try to do is say, wait a minute. you have to keep that conversation going. even if you disagree with michael sam, disagree with riley cooper, disagree with incognito, disagree with donald surly or even agree with him, it's like the whole mark cuban discussion. i had no problem with what mark cuban had to say because somebody said, hey, i got prejudices. i'm biassed. and he puts it on the table and the argument turned into, i
remember seeing is cuban racist? it was the stupidest conversation in the world. it should have been he puts it on the table so can we not own up to our own prejudices and biases and have that conversation? part of the problem with a race discussion in america, if we really want to be honest, a lot of whites who really want to talk about their personal feelings but are afraid of saying it to be called a racist. you have to create the environment where people can be honest about how he had feel and then begin to say, okay, so when he made the comment about trayvon martin and the hoodie, my first response wasn't you're racist. my first question would have been, mark, what caused you to feel that way? what brought you to that particular view point? if the moderator asked that question, it would have led to why he felt that way? which leads to the next question. what we have evolve into is statement, denuns yiciation as
opposed to statement, question. so that has to happen. >> how much time do we have? >> we have a way to go. my flight leaves at 2:45. >> a quick follow up and then i want to ask a question. so when the trayvon martin incident happened kobe bryant made a comment in terms of the way the miami heat players addressed it. they came out with the hoodies on in solidarity. and you took a little bit exception to what kobe had to say. give us your perspective on that. >> first, kobe gave an interview to the new yorker. i read the piece. the question that interviewer
asked reallies with a ridiculous question because he sort of mixed several things together. what the miami heat did and kobe not getting involved on other issues and then kobe responded. the issue i took with that is, first of all, people seem to forget is that he was killed on the night of an nba all star game in sanford, florida. the game was -- took place in orlando. he was going back home to watch the game. it was another two months before it blew up because, frankly, national media ignored it. we drove it on social media. i remember tweeting dwyane wade who i know saying, and i specifically said, i am stunned that players who live in orlando and in miami are saying nothing about this because he was -- he lived in miami gardens.
and so dwyane wade, i remember him tweeting, roland, thanks, brother, for pushing us and keeping us on these issues a day later they made the statement. the problem i had with kobe was he was missing critical facts and what took place there. the heat players were not saying, george zimmerman was guilty. they were sending a signal that we stand in solidarity. and what they also were saying with the hoodies, even though we might be nba ballers, depending on where we go, they may not recognize the face of lebron or dwayne so we're just like trayvon. so that was the issue. that's why i took issue with what he had to say. and i went at kobe hard. and, look, i make it perfectly clear. if i'm willing to criticize kobe, i'm going to swing at you, too. it doesn't even matter. my philosophy is, if you're good, i'll talk about you.
if you're bad, i'll talk about you. he called my office. we had a discussion and he said, you know, the issue that i stated was i have a problem with people jump to someone's side because race. and i said kobe, let me remind you, because of the history of black men being accused of rape in america, black folks who jump to your side when you got accused of rape. >> so in that conversation. i mean i was flying somewhere and it hit me. luckily i answered. he said i hear you talking about me. i said who the hell is this? he said kobe. i said okay. so i stepped to the side. i had a 20 minute conversation. but it led to a discussion and what was great about it was and i told him, i said kobe, when you make that statement, the issue, the interview made it sound as if the heat players jumped to the conclusion that
because trayvon is black and that is not what they were saying. i said that's why i took exception to. but it led to a conversation and i told him, i said we can discuss it off line. look, you want to discuss it on television or radio because that needs to be a broader discussion here because jim brown criticized him for the same thing. that's what i'm saying. when these things happen, we either can respond or we can communicate and literally break it down to have a back and forth. that's why i think there are so many of us afraid. that's why media is so important so we can't -- we shouldn't have the eight minute quick discussion, race is a nonrace. okay, what do you mean by that? >> can we also here again on other side, because if i'm walking with my little girl and i see somebody walking and it's 98 degrees like it often is here in texas and you have on a hoodie over your head and 98 degrees, they don't come much blacker than me, but i'm going to be worried.
i have a little girl with me. i don't know why you hide your face in 90 degrees. doesn't mean i'm racist, but i'm worried. >> i thought what happened with mark cuban the other day, if i see somebody walking towards me with all tattoo all over and he got those little teardrops in his eyes, i just saw on tv that means you're a murderer. that means you wanted to scare me. i'm telling you, that worked. i'm going on the other side of the road. you have the teardrop marks. so what i can say, that what we're telling you. we have to assess the things around us. our own health is involved here. >> freeze right there. you just said i just saw it on tv. >> yes. exactly. so i'm grounding an assessment. we're making shuabsolutes out o things. >> you've proven my point. what happens is we're watching television. we are watching movies or the
news and all of a sudden what we are being fed is driving our perceptions of one another which also goes back to the work that you're involved in in terms of your documentaries, movies, bukz, and what i'm doing as well by saying maybe part of the problem is we have an unbalanced diet of what we have been fed in america that is driving these racial perceptions. >> yes. >> that's part of the issue. >> michael, are you good on that? [ no audio ] >> i understand that. i believe some of had a is reality. >> let me ask you this. we're wrapping up here. kareem, i have a two part question. the first one in terms of just simply what role has sports played in race relations? just give us that perspective. >> i think sports has the potential to be a great area where people can bridge to one another. and by that i mean we are los
angeles lakers win the world championship. they have a street parade downtown in front of city hall. the whole community was there. on this spanish language movie theater, lakers, people from korean community. >> speaking languages. go ahead. >> people from korea and community. south central l.a. west side. the valley. orange county. they all came together. i was wonderful. and then you look at the opposite when things don't work like that. we have the rodney king incident. and l.a. was tearing itself apart. there is still a charcoal alleys in different parts of l.a. behind that. so sports can bring us together in term of the big community as
individuals. you go out there every day. you work on baseball field or on the weight room or on football field with people who aren't like you and you see that they're hard-working. they have a sense humor. they're this, that and the other. you relate. what do you like? i like jay z or whatever. it enables people that would not necessarily have the opportunity to get to know each other and understand hey, they're just like us. we're dealing with the same issues. we're trying to get to the same place. so the potential for sports to overcome a lot of ignorance and lack of knowledge of other people is huge. white americans did not ever see a black american as having any value especially heroic value until joe lewis. they like that. that was pretty good. and all a sudden, they look upon
black americans in a different way. jackie robinson breaks the color barrier in baseball. look, he can play. he deserves it. he should be out there. if he's not out there, that means the best baseball players are not playing major league baseball. that should change. so sports has that potential. i think for that reason, it is a good thing. it makes everything possible in terms of knowing each other. >> let me ask this final question to you and then i'll move down so everybody can get their final thoughts. when the donald sterling incident happened, you wrote the article, "time" magazine. so here's what i want to ask you. the incident became public on a saturday, friday night.
saturday morning. we're in l.a. on tuesday morning because we hear that adam silver, the commissioner is about to make a ruling. i call you and your team the night before. you come to city hall. and we're in a gentleman's office. you, norm nixon, a.c. green, steve nash, luke walton, all these great players there. why was it so important for you to be there at city hall amongst your -- what were you thinking right before adam silver made his remarks? >> i was thinking that nba has been my life and i do not want some racist clown being the face the nba. that was the one thing that got to me. [ applause ] commissioner silver did such a great job. my first year in the league, i played in milwaukee. it was that year that they hired
the very first black general manager, wayne enbry. >> of course. >> and my whole life since then, i've seen the nba make more and more reaching out to be inclusive and to open up doors in front office, management and other areas where black americans at one point were not considered. so i know the nba, it's heart is right and tried to do the right thing. if donald sterling is the face of that, something had to be done. >> thank you. round of applause for kareem abdul-jabbar. >> all right. mayor nutter, i'm going to give you the flexibility on your question. you know, you're a mayor. you have a unique perspective. you're dealing with my brothers keepers. you passionately talk about violence in our communities and in the church and took everybody to task. we know this race issue is real in our country.
what final thought do you want to share? >> roland said something earlier. >> keep going. it will come on. >> ro had >>. >> lean in. >> lovely. let me put a stop to that right now. >> i ain't scared of you, brother. >> roland said something earlier. i won't get it exactly right. he said, talking about if white person wants to talk about race or wants to get into a race conversation, there may somebody challenges. and mayor johnson certainly knows this. i meep when we talk about my brother's keeper, cities united, challenges going on in african-american communities for
black men and boys as it relates to violence. you know, black men are 6% of the population in the united states of america. 43% of the homicide victims. that an astounding circumstance. question is, i mean mitch landrieu, mayor of new orleans, talks about this issue. >> yes, indeed. >> and he's white. we had a conversation last night with the new mayor, marty walsh. wants to talk about this issue. and so the question is, especially for the african-american community, are you prepared to have that conversation and have someone who does not look like you talk about these things, not criticizing, not blaming victim, but obviously a little easier for an african-american man to talk about black on black violence. i get a little bit of static back at home also.
it is doubly difficult for a nonafrican-american leader, mayor, city council member, whatever, to start talking about black on black crime which could be a very serious issue in your community. and have black folks jumping up talking about why are you talking about that? so we have to create a safe and comfortable space for folks to be able to talk about real issues. that's what i say to the mayors is, look, somebody might criticize you for talking about it. i could assure that you some folks going to criticize you for not talking about it. because death is death. as mayors, we have an obligation and responsibility to deal with the issues. the door has to swing both ways. that field has to be open. people have to be ready for serious conversation if we're going to truly do our jobs and live up to the oath that all of us took to be in these offices. so that's one. second is from time to time we read these stories about there
is a team in washington, a football team, they have a particular name, some people are offended. it's a real issue in the country. should that issue be address and taken on? in light of what's happened with clippers and all of this other, you know, kind of stuff going on. and that a growing proportion of the american indian community is in fact offended by the name of the team in washington, d.c., that plays football. >> that's the question i was going to ask. >> we work well together. so michael, the question for you is this broader context, you played football. those rivals, those rivalries, cowboys-redskins, what is your take on mayor nutter's question? >> we talked about this.
again, having these conversations is what is so vital. years growing up in ft. lauderdale with watching my dad who loved the cowboys, we watched cowboys-redskins game and i didn't know. i didn't know. as a young man. i did didn't know it was offensive to them, to native-americans. i didn't know. i didn't know. so in getting that, you was like, wow. you know, this is the importance of having it. and having those conversations. i want to have a conversation with somebody to get, you know, to get an understanding of it. i still do not know. but if it offends somebody, then we should do something about it. if we understand that. that's the great part of it. and here's the best part. even with the owner dan snyder, i mean i know they love making money. it could make a lot of money for
them because everybody had a that's all the redskins things, this very to get the new ones. so you can really satisfy both sides in understanding that. you know? and we all want to say, hey, i call people all the time much it's tradition of it. the tradition of it. and i appreciate tradition and everything. but moving forward is what is important. and moving forward together is what's important. i believe. >> capitalist. a capitalist. >> i want to close with this. let me close with this. i want to go back to what he said about 68 and everything and talking about 40 years. he was absolutely correct. i want us to -- and we will take these moments and deal with these tough spots, these tough rubs that we hear from the one of donald sterling who invite these kind of conversations. but as we leave here, i want us leaving with the right taste in our mouths.
you know, ''68, in the pibbible they call that a generation. we are to be realistic when expecting change. and just because we start talking about it and mentioning it doesn't mean it's going to happen overnight. there's a reason god allowed the children of israel to wander for 40 years in the desert to get the old land of slavery out them before they walked into the new land of promise without the issues of slavery on them. we still have the remnants of the donald sterlings. we'll focus on the one. but i don't want us to miss the bigger point. and that's 40 years, we can say it's not a big thing. but it's humungous. i've seen african-americans cry because they didn't think it would be possible in their lifetime of having an african-american president. and that happened. and in a little over 40 years. focus on this one dude donald
sterling all we want or be smart enough and focus on what we all accomplish when we came together as one that's what i think we should do. that's my closing comment. >> i will -- roland will close us out with a final thought. >> i sat on the set of cnn that night and then when i was shedding tears folks asked me why. i said first of all, it wasn't because of his election. i didn't do it because i saw him. i saw literally the u.s. soldiers who were hanging from trees and lynched in their uniforms. that was the immediate image that came to my mind. but the thing that i also said after that is also ties into sports is that i recognize that the inauguration parade is over. and if you have not read dr.
king's chaos or community you should. because it literally what we are talking about today he wrote in 1967 and we were grappling with riots across the country. what he said was it's real -- he said it did not cost america much. it didn't cost america much to allow us to sit at the same lunch count iror to be in the same hotel. he said now the question is the real cost is about to be tabulated and is america prepared to write that check? and he broke that whole thing down in terms of where we are in terms of society. and so when i look at opportunity, when i look at this idea of sports and how race connects, what each and every single one of you should do is do something that reverend jackson often talks about. he said the reason african-americans have been able to achieve a level of success in sports, in entertainment, he
says because in sports, if it's basketball, the court is 94 feet for everybody. it's ten feet high for everybody. shot clock is the same. fouls are the same. everything is the same. and so when you go to play, your talent will determine whether you succeed or not. it was undeniable that kareem working on his game was going to achieve the level of success because in the game of sports, you can perform or you can't perform. you have the talent or you don't. same with michael. does not matter. but the real question that you should be challenging people in your city and your corporate citizens and your schools and everyone else is saying why is it that in sports rules are the same. we can measure success but then off the court, off the field it goes from objective to
subjective? where all a sudden, your talent doesn't define whether or not you become an all star. what somebody else is thinking defines that. and so when i'm looking at the folks that are ceos but not just oh, my goodness we have several african-american ceos but i'm looking at how many blackboard members are there, hispanic board members, who are vice president, who is the pipeline? what we're still seeing in this country will -- we're still seeing inequity in terms of folks at the top and bottom. when you look at america, there is still not an african-american who a prime time host of a cable news network with a black man in the white house is a problem for me. so what happens is we praise sports because our sports figures work on their game, achieved success because they said if you run faster, throw longer, if you can shoot better and rebound better, then you're going to start. you're going to succeed.
we should have the exact same attitude in the rest of our society and when that happens and we make it the point, we preach all the time, then we'll see a closing of the racial inequality gap on the average white home has $100,000 in wealth, the average african-american has $5,000. you woen see 53% of black wealth whipd out in the last six years because of the home foreclosure crisis and two general ragtss to get just that money back. when we have that attitude about life as we do about sports, then we're going to see it, and i will be remiss to say we should have the exact same attitude when it comes to our sports teams where mayors out there, you're building new arenas for owners and you want them to win championships. and what you should be saying when it comes to the education our children, whether it's a question of school choice or every reform, i want to ensure that we have the same kind of
suck suck success if, you want to win a championship in basketball, you better win championships when it come to educating our children. focus on that and then we won't be talking about inequality in america. >> sports leading the way. we have five owners in the four major sports. we only have six ceos in the fortune 500. only about 2%. >> google doesn't, facebook doesn't, ebay doesn't. >> i wasn't going to name them. >> i name everybody, don't worry about it. >> so he's right in that sense. in sports we have such a major amount of guys on the field that is why we get a chance to talk about these things and hopefully change all the things we need to change. but these discussions are important. >> bring let them go and before you applaud, i want to honor to give as a president of the u.s. congress of mayors we want to give the president's award to
kareem abdul-jabbar and skyhook foundation for all of his outstanding work that he's doing around the country. let's give a round of applause for all of our panelists and kareem! >> house republicans weighed in with their $65 # million proposal to deal with the crisis on the u.s.-mexico border, immigrant crisis. tomorrow we cover the spepding process for cq roll call. what will the focus of this
republican bill be like? where is the money being allocated in this? >> about two-thirds of the money is going toward border security. most of it going to department -- the department of homeland security. they're looking to beef you funding for ice which transports the migrants once they're apprehended at the border, houses them initially and also deports the immigrants after their case. also a lot of money going to putting more judges on the border including teleconferences technology to allow for quicker immigration hearings before a judge which they're hoping to get done within seven days after migrants are apprehended pe border. >> your article pointed out that this bill was not only far less than what the president had proposed, but quite a bit paired back from the bill that hal rogers introduce last week, $1.5 billion. what was cut out? why was that $1.5 billion figure not acceptable? >> we don't know exactly what was caught out. chairman rogers floated the
initial $1.5 billion proposal and it didn't seem like it was getting enough support. so in order to shore you as much support from conservatives in the caucus as possible, they really had to pair down that spending. a lot of people were worried that the money wasn't necessary. >> what about the reaction from the conference when it was released today? >> it seemed to -- they seemed to get pretty decent support although there was a group of conservative republicans who said they were still concerned about the money. they were concerned that it didn't include changes to an executive order that came out in 2012 that deferred action on immigrants who arrived in the u.s. as children. they were concerned that that issue was not addressed. some are also concerned that the senate's going to turn around and jam them with a comprehensive immigration overhaul that they're opposed to. they're about saying no money at all. the president can deal with it using his own executive powers right now and that no additional money is needed. >> one the headlines in your piece says no wildfire, no iron
dome funding, referring to the money going to the israeli missile defense program. why weren't those figures included in the house bill? the iron dome was included in the senate proposal, correct? >> yes. the senate proposal gave about $650 million to fighting wildfires out west. and about $225 million for the iron dome missile suppression system in israel. chairman rogers says he was hoping to address the iron dome issue separately. that is something they think they can get taken care of pretty quickly. as for quild withe wildfire irue been grappling with that. they want to change the way wildfires are funded. and under fema's program, but chairman -- house budget chairman bawl rpaul ryan is aga the approach. it seems like they stepped off and decided that is something they can deal with later. >> let me ask you about an item
you tweeted out. 2008 is a potential bargaining chip as they hope to move border supplemental. what is that law all about? is it included in the house proposal and how does it affect the debate with the senate? >> that easily passed both chambers of congress in 2008 as an anti-trafficking bill. but conservatives say it encourages immigrants to come across the border because it gives them their day in court. but then the immigrants and then never show up at their immigration hearing. democrats are scared if you do include changes to the law which means you allow all central americans -- you immediately deport all central american children, they're worried -- sorry, awe lou central american children to self-deport immediately if they would like, they're concerned that it's not giving those children due process. right now mexican and canadian immigrants are allowed to choose to self-deport.
>> and lastly, about the process for debate in the house. what does it look like? they have a few days left, obviously. >> it looks at this point they're going to take up measure on thursday under a close rule which means there are no amendments. and looks like they'll send it off to the senate really quickly and run away from town for about five weeks. >> yaur you're on twitter. she is also the appropriations reporter for roll call. thanks for the update. >> thank you. >> on the next "washington journal," we'll talk about immigration policy with republican representative steve pierce of new mexico. we'll also talk about border issues with representative diane degette, a colorado come democrat as well as the status the highway spending bill. and paul crozack will focus on how the 1974 budget act affects legislative debate today. washington journal is live on
c-span every day at 7:00 a.m. eastern and can you join the discussion on facebook and twitter. >> sunday, former republican from texas ron paul sh he has written more than a dozen books on politics and history. join the conversation as he takes your calls, e-mails and tweets live for three hours sunday august 3rd at noon eastern and tune in next month for author historian and activist mary francis barry and a supreme court expert talks about court sessions past and present. michael korda is our guest in november. and in december, american enterprise institute president and note musician arthur brooks. "in depth" on book tv, television for serious readers. >> president obama's pick to be u.s. ambassador to russia
testified at the senate foreign relations committee. as the u.s. announced new sanctions against russia. john francis teft served as at representative for ukraine until last year. they also heard from other nominees. senator bob menendez chairs the hearing. >> we have three panel today. i'll chair the first panel which will be the nomination of john francis teft to be ambassador to rush yachlt we'll pass the gavel to senator coons. craig allen to be the ambassador and easterly r and earl robert miller to be the ambassador to botswana. and then senator cain chair our next representatives.
>> let me first welcome our first nominee, john teft. ambassador teft has been a career foreign service officer since 1972 and deserve at this critical time to be givener conversation of the committee. let me say the gee yoe politics fastly different from what we confronted during the last hearing for u.s. ambassador to russia in 2011. and in my view, we cannot afford to wait to send an ambassador to moscow as senator mccain just urged us to do. before we begin, i just want to express my concern about russia's violation of its obligations under the interimmediate range nuclear forces treaty. russia's violation is a very serious matter. it is vital that it comply with the obligations under the treaty and eliminate any prohibited
items in a very fireable manner. the inf treaty is a corner stone of european security and was one of the first steps the united states and the soviet union then soviet union took to end their cold war confrontation. the treaty sought to eliminate the nuclear threat to western europe and the european parts of the soviet union. the fact that russia now violating its obligation is another sign that under president putin russia is operating in a manner that threatens the security of all european states. we cannot delay in sending someone in view of that reality in view that president putin enjoys soaring domestic approval ratings but continues to double down on the reckless course in ukraine that result in terrible tragedy and loss of innocent life with the downing of the malaysian flight 17 by pro russian rebel supported and supplied by putin. not when the ukrainian army is making advances in the east and moscow is answering by putting
more heavy weaponry into the hands of militias. last week along with the chairs other committees responsible for national security, i signed a letter to president obama asking for immediate sanction against russia's defense sector. including state owned export to prevent russia from providing weaponry, equipment or assistants in training. it's my view that we must also consider broader sanctions on rush why's energy and financial industries and other sectors of russian economy as appropriate. and we need an ambassador in moscow as events continue to unfold. i hope that both sides the aisle will agree to expedite his nomination. he was ambassador to ukraine, republic of georgia and lithuania. he is a life long student of rush why and the former soviet republics. his knowledge and experience in
moscow that dress not only the crisis in ukraine but president putin's blatant disrespect for human rights, complete control of media, erosion of the rule of law, flouting of international law and norms all which affect our bilateral relationship. so we welcome you, ambassador, to the committee. i'm going to call upon senator corker. please invite recognize recognize any of the members of your family are here. i understand you have a multidecade partner in your effort. and we appreciate her willingness to once again allow you to serve your nation and we understand the sacrifices that she and other members families in your case and the other nominees face when they are willing to serve their country abroad. senator corker? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'll be brief. i want to second the comments, the audible comments made about your previous service and also thank your spouse for her
willingness to come out of retirement. i know you were living here. i know there are grand babies in the region and yet you're heading back to russia to serve our country. i think everybody on this committee just about has expressed stroj strongly their concern about russia's actions in cry mira and eastern ukraine. i think there's been a lot of frustration. i know there has been by most relative to the sanctions that have been put in place. i do want to say a plaud ti app sanctions put in place before the malaysian flight was shot down. i think we haven't seen the detail yet. it look like that us and europe have come more closely together. and hopefully we'll know the details of that soon. but you go to russia at a time it was mention is very important. i think your service and the other countries nearby are very helpful not only to to all of us, but to those countries and to russia. i might add everyone here knows
that russia had to agree in spite of his service and these other countries which obvious i had geo politically they believe post pose some threat to them p very to to agree to the fact that he's our nominee. so you're going there under challenging circumstances as has been mentioned. as the chairman mentioned this morning, the news that all of us have known previously that it was announce that we're going to bring forth these charges relative to the inf treaty makes it an additionally challenging time. this is the type of issues that we're seeing in eastern ukraine and in crimea are the kind that should they get out of hand could lead to some really terrible global issues. and i think all us have been concerned again, many of us, that the type response we had may leave an embolden putin to continue on. it now appears that possibly
he's beginning to get some degree push back within the country. hopefully that's the case. i know he's been writing a strong nationalistic popularity because of what he's been doing. i do hope our nation and europe will continue to work together to put pressure on him to get him to move away from the types of actions that he's taken and importantly i hope you as ambassador will do everything you can as one ambassador to make that happen. i know your access to putin will be a little different than the access you had in the other countries that you served. but i'm very glad you're willing to do this. look forward to your testimony. and i will say on the confirmation, this committee has actually been really indecreed ib as far as getting nominees out on a bipartisan basis. i do hope in this case, many of them have been held up. i hope in this case we figure out a way to get you out very, very quickly and get your way on to russia.
so thank you. >> ambassador, your full statement will be include in the record without objection. i may have to tript interruo in we have a tenth member. i may have to interrupt you at that moment which i hope we'll get through your testimony before i have to interrupt you. but just excuse myself up front. and with that, the floor is yours. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i'm very grateful for the opportunity to appear before you today as president obama's nominee for to be be the next ambassador of the united states to the russian federation. i'm grateful to you and to senator corker and senator mccain for the kind remarks you made about me and my wife. i have to say to you as someone who has been a private citizen working in the private sector for the better part of the lastier, i have appreciated and admired the work of this committee and the leadership you provided on not only the situation in russia and ukraine but also more broadly on foreign affairs. and so i thank you for that.
>> if i'm confirmed, i will continue to work closely with the members of this committee and your staff as i've done before. and my various assignments. clearly we face some of most challenging times in the relations between the u.s. and russia since end of the cold war. i just like to say a couple of words from my prepared remarks that we submitted to the record. i would like to say that our relations with russia today are obviously, as you said, in serious trouble. the future is uncertain. the u.s. can't ignore the fundamental challenge to the national order posed by russia's actions in the ukraine crisis. russia's efforts to next cry mira which we'll never accept violated the preaccepts of international law and shredded the fabric of freely adopted obligation among europe's nation that's kept the peace for nearly 70 years. russia's policy of destabilizing parts of eastern ukraine violate the sovereignty of the neighbor. they also undercut the obligations russia itself
undertook to observe the independence and territorial integrity of ukraine. as you said, mr. chairman, and as president obama and many european leaders emphasised, adherence to the structure of the european security is vital much the shootdown of the malaysian airliner and loss of almost 300 innocent lives has truly shocked the world and underlined the importance of resolving this crisis quickly and peacefully. in this environment, i believe we must continue to talk clearly to our russian friends and make sure that russians and citizens understand american policy. our interests and our values. at the same time, managing this crisis effectively and wisely will require that our own government continues to know as precisely as we can what russian side is thinking, what their objectives are, and why they're taking the approaches they do even when we find them unacceptable. if given the opportunity to serve, i will try to do just that. to engage in frank and difficult
diplomacy. mr. chairman, one of the great privileges my career has been to lead the teams of commit americans serving our country at embassies overseas. if confirmed, i will do my best to lead the highly professional and motivate team that we have at our embassy in moscow and our three kons laconsulates across . i appreciate what you said about my wife. i'd like to recognize her in front all of you. she has been my independencible partner in this career from the very beginning. in addition to her own professional accomplish. as a biostat stigs and nurse, she made her own unique contributions to representing our country in every post in which we is served. i know she will do that again and bring her invaluable experience to bear in moscow. i'd also like to thank my wonderful daughters christine and kathleen. they make me proud every day. they've been supportive of my work throughout my career. kathleen is here today along with her husband andy horowicz, my daughter christine is
unfortunately at home or fortunately at home taking care of our ten day old second granddaughter. her husband paul is here with us today. and as is my wife's cousin margie click and her husband randy and my administrative assistant at the corporation. mr. chairman, thank you for letting me make those remarks. i'm prepared now to answer if i questions you might have. >> well, most nominees take a full five minutes. so i want to congratulate you on your brevity. >> this is the experience after do you this four time, sir. you get to -- >> let me first welcome all your family and we appreciate again their willingness to share you with the nation and your service. and since i'm sanctioned and cannot go to russia to visit you, if you get confirmed, i hope to be able to have an open line of communication with you so that we can talk about issues
as we move forward. >> absolutely, sir. >> what is -- you know, i thought that after the tragedy of the malaysian airline flights that president putin would have a different vision of where he was at. that he would change course. that it would be an off ramp. but he seems to have double down. so how is it -- and we've -- his invasion of cry mira, what is going on here up ends the international order. i know i was in europe. the europeans are shock because they never thought that that was going to be one their challenges. they thought security challenges were more in context of modern day terrorism but not of a state actor. so how do you look at that reality knowing that you're going into a set of circumstances under which instead of what we would think would be the normal course of events that deescalating, moving in a different direction would
be the response to a response where we see putin doubling down. how do you -- how do you view that? how do you engage in that as you go to russia? >> well, i think as you say the $64,000 question is what is exactly president putin's approach at this point? you were not the only one senator who thought that this horrible tragedy provideded an opportunity to disengage, to find a way to resolve this horrible conflict that's killing people every day in eastern ukraine. i do the not know specifically what president putin's plans are. i note like you that the sanctions that europe that's increased substantially its sanctions today going into sectoral areas according to what i read in the press. my understanding is that we are now going to add some additional sanctions ourselves. i would also note as you mentioned that we saw this week
criticism president putin specifically the press interview that was given you by his very old friend and adviser former deputy prime minister who is quite clear about his concern not just with the ukraine crisis and the impact this was going to have on the economy, but also the individuals in the society, the ultra nationalists who he was quite critical of. we know from different press articles and other things that many in the business community are very concerned at the way things are going. and this isn't just sanctions. i know from my work at rand that there are businessmen who are not sanctioned or not party to this. but they lost deals because they lost foreign capital that they count on to either expand or even to continue operating some of their -- so pressure is clearly there. i can't tell you. i wish i could tell you how i see the bottom this. i think we need to keep pressure
on and to give continue to give president putin an opportunity to find a way to deescalate this crisis and to bring an end to the conflict in ukraine along the lines that president has outlipd. >> what should be our response to the administration's statement that russia has violate their treaty obligations? >> i think this a very serious matter, senator. it obviously goes to the core of trust. i understand that an international relations trust is one component. but i hope that the russians will seize the opportunity that we have offered to come to the table, to meet with our experts, to try to resolve this. to shelf this particular weapons system and to bring them self back in compliance with the inf treaty. >> and i would assume that if you're confirmed this is an issue on behalf of the administration that you will drive significantly because
there are those of us in congress who knew about this based upon what was then classified information and now that's that it's public are very concerned about where this is lead and where it is heading. if you look at the multiplicity of action that russia has taken and now you add this dimension to it, you begin to wonder how much the international order has been upend by president putin. >> i agree with you, sir. i with say during the soviet days i was o the soviet desk twice, two three-yir tours. one thng i spent a lot of time on is arms control. so i have to dust off some of my knowledge and bring it to the bear. but i will do my best to press this issue when i'm in moscow. >> finally, if we can pt not go ahead and deter and get russia to change course, one of my hopes is we'll look at in the sectoral sanction that's we're
looking at at energy, i am really concerned that we who lead the world in a shale revolution are going to help the russians create a russian shale revolution that will give them more gas and greater ability to leverage it as they have leveragededed it in ukraine, as they are leveraging it fwens europe. the last thing i think that in the national interest and security of the united states is to have our technology sold to the russians so that they can have a shale revolution so they can have more energy and more resources and more leverage against europe and similar countries. i hope you're going to look at that closely with the department and members of the u.s. department of energy. i think that is a sanction that has long term consequences for the russians and in term both what they can do moving forward and what the consequences are economically. >> i will, sir. >> senator corker? >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for your opening
comments. the inf treaty was relative to proximate locations to russia. therefore, the violations were vie layings that, you know, if they continue were violations that would have had an impact on europe in general. my guess is some of them already were aware of the violations due to their intelligence. but you see this having any impact relative to the other issues we're dealing with russia on right now? >> well, i think it goes to the -- >> i'm talking about with the european community. >> my understanding, senator, is that the allies are being briefed at nato today or tomorrow. i'm not sure exactly when. to go over this. they, like the committee, has been apprise the problem before they've known of it. i think our european allies should be very concerned because as we all know, the inf missiles ones that most apply in -- you know, to the european continent.
we work very hard in the '80s to get that inf treaty to preserve the security and make the security of europe indivisible from our own. >> when you talk about off ramps, hopefully we'll continue to look at possible off ramps for putin as chairman mentioned you would have thought that the downing of the passenger aircraft would have been the perfect off ramp. instead, he turned into the wind and doubled down. what types of off ramps to do you see as being possible in the future with actions being as they have been from him? >> well, i watched secretary kerry this morning on television when he appeared with the foreign minister ukraine. and the secretary was again emphasizing, sir, that he talked apparently to foreign minister this morning, reiterate the readiness of the united states and ukraine to engage in negotiations at any stage. to meet at any time to try to do
this. base on the peace plan that the president has outlined. i'm not aware any particular meeting coming up that would provide an opportunity like that. but the secretary seemed to indicate that he was ready at any stage to engage in something like that. i think a lot depends on what the policies of president putin are. >> at the hague recently ruled that russia had, you know, basically stolen $50 billion from shareholders of ukos. it seems like there are a number of issues occurring right now. i know we talked about that yesterday. i assume that you'll be forceful in pursuing that to its end and that we had u.s. shareholders who also were damage in that process. >> yes, sir. in all my career and my other assignments, i made promoting the fair treatment of american business and investors one my
top priorities. i will certainly do that. i'm also cognizant that there is a provision in the russian mull dova repeal and the rule of law accountability act which obliges the administration to help american investors who were victims of this. i will certainly do that. my embassy and i, i think the embassy has been engage in this and i will certainly continue to do that. >> okay. >> senator corker, if you will yield for just a moment. just for members of the committee. >> come back to order. thank you for your forbearance. i believe that senator corker was the last member. so senator murphy. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. mr. ambassador, thank you very much for sticking with us today. had is important. we want to be able to get the nominees that were underunderlying the business meeting through and make sure we get a chance, senator mccain and
senator menendez state to get you through this process and through the senate by the end of the week. thank you for spending a little bit time with me earlier this week. and maybe i want to allow you to elaborate on a conversation that we were having about how you interpret events of the last six months with respect to whether or not it is a display of russian strength or russian weakness and nothing is that simple. but there have been a lot pundits who suggest this is putin pushing around the rest of the world, getting his way in essentially resetting international norms through aggressive behavior. and then there is a whole other school of thought which suggests this is a panic reaction by a leader of a nation who is in retreat in a lot of way, unable to control the allegiances of former republics, an economy which has failed to diversify in
any meaningful way. i know it's not simple to just sort of suggest which direction russia is heading in. but tell me sort of how you interpret the motivations for these exceptional actions in ukraine. >> thank you very much, senator. when i've been in moscow recently in may and april with working, doing my job for the rand corporation, i met with many russians. certainly the predominant view there that decision to go into crimea was something of an impulsive decision following the breakdown agreement that had been broker by the three european union foreign ministers back in late march. i know that agreement while
there are many in russia who think it was something that was broken down by some kind not plot or some kind of plan was in fact something spontaneous nobo knew that president yawn nukovy was leaving. i think there's a fundamental misunderstanding on the part of many in the russian leadership. i've had these private conversations as well, they didn't understand what was really at stake. when i left ukraine it was very clear if you looked at the polling that president yanukovych was not only very unpopular but something in the order of 74% said they thought the country was going in the wrong direction. when i left, it was still -- the plans were still on the books to move ahead with becoming a member of the european -- an
associate member association agreement with the eu. when that fell apart and the demonstrations developed, it was not hard to understand why that was happening. for me personally, one of the things that's so frustrating here is that this didn't need to happen. a lot of the things that have occurred in ukraine didn't have to happen. they could have had a better relationship with ukraine if they were trying. they wanted to have a good relationship with russia. i will be honest when i was in ukraine, speaking on behalf of the administration in the united states said we supported the eu association agreement but we
also believed strongly that there should be a good relationship between ukraine and russia. most ukrainians i knew understood that very clearly. unfortunately decisions were made the other way. i hope this is an aberration. i think the strong international response to this has sent a pretty clear message. i think you can read some of the commentaries in russia and see there's a lot of people raising the larger question of is this the right policy approach? is this the best way to build relationships with our neighbors? is this the best way in the words of some ukrainians -- russians is this the way we should treat our cousins across the border in ukraine. >> i want to ask you one more question. you had this challenge in ukraine. you will have it again in rush russia. how do you continue to continue
on different fronts while pressing the case for political discourse and expressing it. putin has also been increasing a crack down on political discourse essentially eliminating the ability of small television channels in that country to advertise to receive revenues necessary for their existence essentially shutting the doors on a number of different independent outlets throughout the country. so you've gotten real good at this over the years what do you see in moscow as the ability of our embassy to continue to promote the freedom of expression and those who would continue to protest this government with an increasing foot on their neck as they try to do that. >> i will try to have very serious talks with the russian leaders. the embassy and u.s. government as ai whole has developed ways
to get our message out and support for those themes. >> the other thing i've done in my previous assignments is to work very closely with our european allies. the former minister of lithuania along with other ambassadors to try to bring to bare the predominance of persuasiveness. i have no illusions in saying this. in one of my conversations yesterday with one of the other senators, i made the point at looking how we actually conduct our public diplomacy and looking at not just how we're doing but how effective we're being with social media and other things in a society that is increasingly restricted in terms of the ability of embassies and other governments to get their message out. it's something i will spend a lot of time on. one of the things as i prepare
to go out in consultations here is to be hard minded about the effectiveness of that and to try to come up with the best ways we can move forward. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> senator. >> ambassador, let me ask you some final questions unless a member returns. you were the ambassador in georgia in 2008. >> yes, sir. >> you experienced russia's provocative behavior in that regard. how do you compare what russia did in georgia in 2008 with what you see in ukraine in 2014? >> i think what we've seen in ukraine is actually a much more organized -- at least as i understand it -- operation. certainly the russians prepared their forces before the war actually broke out. there were massed north of the border. the operation as it came into
georgia did not -- was not militarily as well organized, i think, as certainly what we've seen in ukraine, not just many crimea but also i had sense that in ukraine there was much more direct coordination between moscow and these fellows that they have on the ground out there. at least that's the impression i have in reading about it. there's lots of articles in the newspaper about the various people of the russian special services as well as the gru, the intelligence side of the military. their direct involvement and people who were involved not just in georgia but chechnya and crimea. i saw the other night a cbs correspondent who said this is the same fellow i saw in crimea back last fall and i've seen him once before in another place. clearly there's people who have
been designated who are the ones who do these things. >> some of us look at what happened in ukraine and in moldova and say to ourselves, well, this is, you know, a repeat of a game plan maybe a little difference in terms of specificity or exactness or russian troops versus those who are not insigniaed being september in but in essence creating frozen conflicts which serves its purpose equally maybe as well then an actual outright invasion. what do you think about that? >> yeah. i always had the impression in georgia that there was a fundamental miscalculation. you know, remember early on in the conflict they bombed some of these apartment buildings in the city right fwin the city of georgia. i think the cal yulous was we were going to get these people angry and they were going to
turn against their government. what happen was the exact opposite. even those who hated him came out and said he was the president of georgia and we support him for that. >> i think there was a miscalculation and i don't know in the russian system whose responsible for that but i think that's there. i think you could also -- i think historians will know better when we have more mf information but i think some of the things that have been done in eastern ukraine have been a miscalculation. the impression i always had when i left a year ago was that there was a very big generational difference in eastern ukraine. i found many of the students and younger generation there were very critical of their own government in kiev but not wanting to be a part of the russia but to be part of an independent ukraine.
a ukraine that was changed. i think it was a miscalculation on the part of russia that somehow saw these huge numbers of people as being ready just to kind of embrace russia and being a part of the russia. i don't think that was ever in the cards. >> one final question. you know, some of us read the responses by russia becoming self independent. insolear in terms of global economic issues which i find it incredibly hard to believe. i believe that what putin has done here is actually maybe not in the short term but in the mid to longer term has real consequences for russia economically. >> absolutely. >> it woke up the europeans to think about how they diversify and become more energy independent as well as others. what do you think is some of the inherent problems russia would face if it tried to become auto dependent.
>> i just don't see in this global market, in this globized world that we live in that withdrawing into yourself in a insolear nation is going to help you. number one economically you're not going to succeed. we all know that you need capital. you need foreign customers. russia needs the developed manufacturerers and things they can sell in the world not just the exacted minerals which are the fundamental of their national economy today. i just think that it's really a big danger. i was very intrigued as i mentioned to you yesterday, the comments that were made by former deputy prime minister cudrin who was very clear in our interview not just the ukraine policy was wrong